Does anyone know who’s grabbing Rich Brook’s junk in that picture to the left? If so, please let me know.
Seriously, though, Kentucky has impressed early behind Heisman candidate Andre Woodson, but this is their first true test. They’ll need to pass the test, because they face #1 LSU next week. As for South Carolina, they need someone, anyone, to step up and show some consistency at quarterback. For now, the Gamecocks will rely on their defense. It’s going to be a good game this Thursday night.
7:47 pm: The game is underway. We’re getting some rain tonight.
7:48 pm: Wow. Four seconds in and Chris Smelley has already spent a timeout for USC.
7:52 pm: Smelley gets sacked to force 3rd and long, but on third down, he delivers a quick pass right on the money, up to the 30 and for a first down.
7:53 pm: I can’t help but laugh when I hear Fowler say “the stats for Smelley”
7:55 pm: The Ole Ball Coach runs a draw to Boyd on third and long. Amazingly, it works. Good job by the O-line to make a big hole for him to run.
7:56 pm: TOUCHDOUMBLE! SUC’s Tight end, Saunders, looked like he managed to juke out the defenders, but a Kentucky player strips the ball out of his hands before he crosses the line. It flies out of his hands, out of the endzone, and Kentucky gets the ball at the 20.
The worst part? That’s exactly the kind of play I expect from Brooks Foster when UNC plays Miami on Saturday.
7:59 pm: TOUCHDOWN! The Gamecocks immediately atone for the fumble, stripping the ball away from Andre Woodson on the first offensive play, it bounces towards the endzone, and a linebacker falls on it into the endzone. USC leads, 7-0 on perhaps the two freakiest consecutive fumbles in college football history.
8:02 pm: Rafael Little takes the handoff to start the drive, and he gets a huge 25 yard gain past midfield against USC’s overpursuant front seven.
8:03 pm: The Gamecock defense adjusts immediately, stuffing the next two Wildcat runs.
8:04 pm: Kentucky runs a successful screen, but it’s well short of a first down and Kentucky will punt. Either they adopted a conservative gameplan after the fumble and touchdown, they planned a conservative start all along, or the Carolina defense are dictating the pace right now. I think it may a bit of all three.
8:08 pm: USC started their drive from the five. They go 3-and-out on two run plays and a bad pass. Not very good playcalling, and the Gamecocks will punt.
A bad punt, and Kentucky will start in SC territory.
8:13 pm: Not a good penalty for the Gamecocks. A short run turned into a 16 yard gain with a 15-yard facemask, and suddenly Kentucky is in field goal range.
8:14 pm: Woodson fires a pass to his tight end, who almost gets a touchdown before being brought down inside the 10. First and goal.
8:15 pm: Three bad plays in a row for the Wildcats. First, Woodson leads the fullback too far on the swing pass, then Little is stuffed, and finally Woodson misfires a pass that would not have led to a touchdown anyway. Kentucky salvages a field goal, and it’s now 7-3, S. Carolina.
8:18 pm: Smelley opens Sc’s drive with a quick short pass to McKinley, who works his way around a few defenders and speeds to a first down.
8:20 pm: Craig James: “McKinley uses a great receiver technique called foot fire.”
Fowler: “I had foot fire once. Took a week to get rid of it.” Smelley and the USC offense drives past midfield.
8:23 pm: The flags are really flying early tonight, for both teams.
8:25 pm: Smelley takes his first big hit of the game. He still almost hit his receiver, but the ball fell out of Freddy Brown’s hands. Third and long.
8:26 pm: How do the Wild cats leave Chris Mickinley wide open…up the middle…on third down? A great job by McKinley for getting open and putting his team in the red zone, but Kentucky simply cannot allow those kinds of plays.
8:27 pm: That floater to the end zone looked like it was nearly intercepted—twice–before McKinley let a decent chance a a touchdown through his arms.
8:28 pm: Timeout, South Carolina. They’ve already spent two, and the first quarter isn’t over.
8:29 pm: Smelley gets another floater into McKinley’s hands, but the throw isn’t there soon enough, and a Kentucky DB is there to strip the ball away. USC settles for a field goal, and they now lead 10-3. They’ve thrown away a few opportunities, but they’re dominating time of possession.
8:33 pm: Woodson virtually had a touchdown to a wide open Keenan Burton. But he overthrew the ball, and it’s incomplete.
8:34 pm: Rafael Little gets stuffed again to end the first quarter. South Carolina leads 10-3 after 1.
8:38 pm: Woodson is hit as he throws on third down, and the receiver makes the big one-handed catch to give them the first in SC territory.
8:40 pm: Rafael Little gets a bug run, it takes 3 guys to take him down, and Kentucky is in the red zone.
8:41 pm: Craig James: “Git ‘R Done”! It’s really awkward to hear an announcer outside of the PBR say that.
8:43 pm: Woodson floats one up to the endzone, and Tamme, a 6′ 5″ receiver, is there to make the catch. TOUCHDOWN KENTUCKY, and They have tied the game, 10-10.
8:49 pm: You have to love ESPN. This is a close game, between two top 15 teams, with big implications in the best conference in the country, and the announcers are debating whether or not Spurrier threw his headset.
8:51 pm: After a screen play that failed miserably, Smelley nearly gets called for a safety, intentional grounding in the endzone. Fortunately for him, he got rid of it at the 1.
USC’s drive: 3 plays, -19 yards, punt. You don’t get much worse a drive than that.
8:54 pm: Flutie “Food……….Food………”
8:56 pm: Kentucky is penalized for holding, but they quickly compensate for the penalty. Rafael Little gets 7 on the draw, and then Woodson fires a pass 15 yards downfield for a first down.
8:58 pm: Tony Dixon comes in at RB for the Wildcats, and he gets another big run and another first down for Kentucky. They’re knocking on the door again.
8:59 pm: They run the screen again, but this time it works, as Little gets a first down into the red zone against the SC blitz.
9:00 pm: INTERCEPTION! Woodson throws under pressure in the pocket, and he floats it right into the hands of Captain Munnerlyn, who returns it into good field position. What’s worse, Woodson may have been injured trying to make a tackle. But most importantly…Captain Munnerlyn, if real, might be the greatest name of all time.
9:03 pm: The Gamecocks can’t take advantage of the turnover. Three and out.
9:08 pm: The Gamecocks have done a good job so far of making WR Keenan Burton a non-factor for most of this game.
9:09 pm: The Wildcats go 3-and-out themselves. Mashay, the punter, boots it 63 yards to inside the SC 10.
9:12 pm: Smelley throws to an open tight end up the middle for w first down, and then Cory Boyd wide huge room on the draw play, to get into UK territory in just two plays.
9:14 pm: A Kentucky player cam very close to literally taking the ball away from a receiver’s hands and intercepting the football.
9:15 pm: Smelley finds McKinley again, and he gets the Gamecocks into the red zone, with a chance to take the lead just before halftime (under two minutes left).
9:17 pm: Mike Davis takes a couple of carries, and he powers his way inside the five. First and goal.
9:18 pm: TOUCHDOWN! MIke Davis gets the ball on the the third straight play. Kentucky can’t stop him, as he dives his way into the endzone. S. Carolina leads, 17-10 on a 10- play, 89- yard drive.
9:19 pm: They’re calling him Holtz the Magnificent now? Theriouthly?
9:21 pm: Kentucky seems content to run out the clock, and we’ve reached halftime. South Carolina leads 17-10 at intermission. Both teams have done a decent job of running their offense, but Woodson hasn’t been able to get much done through the air today. A good job by the Gamecock secondary, but they’ll need to run better pass plays. The Ole Ball Coach must be happy with how his quarteback tonight, but his team is letting a lot of big runs through.
9:38 pm: As Always, the best part of the Thursday Nothgt Football broadcast…is the Lou Holtz Pep Talk. Florida is doomed on Saturday.
9:43 pm: The second half begins, and Kentucky has the ball to start.
9:46 pm: Woodson finally connects with Keenan Burton, firing a bullet down the middle where onlt Burton can catch it. First down, Kentucky in enemy territory.
9:47 pm: FUMBLE! Three huge mistakes. First, the Gamecocks break through the offensive line without being contested. Woodson is in trouble immediately, and then he throws an -off-balance lateral. Finally, his receiver treats it like an incomplete pass. All of this means that SC’s linebacker, Norwood is uncontested in picking up the fumble and racing in for his second defensive touchdown of the game. South Carolina leads, 24-10, band you can pretty much end Woodson’s Heisman hopes right now. Even if the Wildcats comeback. No QB should make those kinds of mistakes and get such prestigious hardware.
9:52 pm: Kentuckt’s offense heads right back to work. Let’s see how they respond to that costly mistake.
9:53 pm: The Wildcats have gone back to the ground game, and so far it continues to be successful. Rafael Little is nearing 100 yards on the night, and Kentucky is in Gamecock territory.
9:55 pm: Derek Locke, a freshman and Kentucky’s third RB, gets another big run to put the Wildcats in scoring position.
9:56 pm: After the first down run is stuffed, Woodson throws two incomplete passes to bring up 4th down at the 24. The Wildcats get the 41-yard field goal, and the deficit is now 24-13.
10:00 pm: Thanks to EDSBS, I can never again see an a fat guy at a southern football game without thinking “GET IN MY BELLY!!!”
10:02 pm: FUMBLE! Wow…even when things go right for Kentucky, tonight they go so, so wrong. They force a rare 3-and-out, but Rafael Little muffs the punt, and GREATEST NAME EVER! recovers at midfield. That’s four very costly turnovers for the Wildcats now.
10:07 pm: Another 3-and-out, as Smelley gets sacked twice in the drive, not getting rid of the ball. That’s been the big difference in this game; when Smelley’s under pressure, he takes a sack. When Woodson’s under pressure, he commits turnovers.
10:12 pm: After Kentucky commits a holding penalty, South Carolina forces a 3-and-out of their own, and the Wildcats punt to, as Fowler called him, “The Dangerous Captain Munnerlyn.” How is that not the best name in all of college football?
10:16 pm: As if people’s stereotypes about the state of Kentucky aren’t bad enough right now, UK’s wildcat mascot is wearing…jean overalls.
10:17 pm: Doug Flutie and Craig James, apparently, resent it when Chris Fowler throws around obscure statistics. Kentucky gets the ball back.
10:19 pm: Rafael Little continues to run well against the South Carolina defense, and now is over 100 yards.
10:23 pm: Kentucky has outgained South Carolina in the third quarter, by 145 to -15. You read that right. Minus 15 yards. Yet USC has a touchdown and Kentucky only has a field goal to show for it. Just another reminder, as Little gives UK first and goal and the Gamecock band plays the “Pirates of the Carribean” theme, of now much turnovers matter in football.
10:26 pm: The Wildcats run the draw play on third down, and Rafael Little has a wide open lane…but he muffs the handoff and has to fall on it. They’ll have to settle with the field goal in the fourth quarter. South Carolina leads 24-13 after 3.
10:29 pm: Fowler: “Not a good night for body paint. But then again, I think body paint…should be outlawed.”
James: “Well, if you’re wearing body paint that’s waterproof, then it’s body paint.“
Kentucky gets the FG. 24-16, South Carolina.
10:32 pm: Smelley finds a wide open Jared Cook, and suddenly USC is in Kentucky territory. Finally, they have positive yardage in the second half.
10:34 pm: Mike Davis manages to overpower several tackles on that screen play. I fhe had managed to keep his balance, that might have been a touchdown.
Nevermind, the referee negates the play with an illegal shift call.
10:36 pm: Smelley finds Boyd coming out of the back field, and he gets a first down and puts South Carolina in field goal range.
10:37 pm: South Carolina is advancing the ball, but one of their players is injured. That’s their second injured player tonight, and at least their fourth in three weeks.
10:41 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Smelley runs the play action on second and goal, and he finds the nephew of Chris DiMarco on the left edge of the end zone. South Caroina takes a 31-16 lead, and may have effectively put this game away.
10:51 pm: Kentucky is grinding it out on the ground, but they continue driving down the field and getting first downs.
10:52 pm: After Woodson is sacked for big loss on first down, Keenan burton gets a nice gain on the screen pass. A makable third and 6 here.
10:53 pm: The run on 3rd down is stuffed. Kentucky must convert on 4th and 8 to keep their hopes alive.
10:54 pm: On fourth down, Woodson fires a bullet that’s dead-on to a receiver along the sidelines, and they just get the first down.
10:55 pm: Dixon takes another screen pass and gives Kentucky a first down inside the red zone.
10:56 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Steve Johnson makes another great catch on the sidelines, and this time it’s in the endzone. The defense stood little chance to stop that. After the extra point, Kentucky’s deficit is down to 31-23.
10:59 pm: Less than seven minutes left, and Kentucky must stop the Gamecocks on this drive.
11:00 pm, 6:02 left: Smelley makes a great pass to Lecorn, who gets big yardage after the catch and past midfield.
11:06 pm, 4:20 left: Smelley gives South Carolina another first down, this time on a third down conversion. More importantly, they’re running the clock out.
11:07 pm, 3:28 left: TOUCHDOWN! Cory Boyd was expected to get only a few yards on the swing pass, but he outraces everyone else to the endzone. South Carolina now leads 38-23, and this game is all but over.
11:13 pm, 2:20 left: Kentucky turns the ball over on downs in their own red zone, and this game is really, really, over. LB Eric Norwood has had the game of his life tonight.
11:17 pm: And it’s over. South Carolina wins, 38-23. Shockingly, Chris Smelley didn’t make any mistakes, and Eric Norwood took full advantage of the turnovers that Andre Woodson gave him. That’s all there really is to it; Kentucky’s ill-timed turnovers, and South Carolina’s lack thereof, were the difference in this game.